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T-Spine Mobility, Pt. 2 (Overhead extension bias)

(Episode Transcribed Directly from Video)

Hey guys, Coach Mike here at MROC Training with Episode 9 of MOB of the Week. This is gonna be the second of a two-part video series on thoracic spine mobility. Last week we taught you how to smash and roll with your foam roller to break up that T spine and that mid-back stiffness, so we're just going to show you a few more variations of those techniques and include overhead positioning and how to get those arms into nice full extension. So, let's take it down to the floor.

We're gonna start on the floor just like we did last week with the foam roller ready to go into position right at the base of the ribs but instead of wrapping our arms around our body and giving ourselves a big hug, instead we're gonna bring the arms into full extension overhead. So, I'm gonna bring the arms up, engage the shoulders so that if my armpits are exposed forward, it'll lock out the elbows and try to bring the arms as close together as I can. Arms extended, elbows locked, elbows forward, hands close together. Now, as soon as I do this, my lumbar is gonna want to break, it's gonna be much harder to maintain this position so you have to remember to keep an active midline. So, what I want you to focus on is those ribs sinks that parallel up the hips, tension in the midline nice and tight, okay? Arms come up, screw in, come close and I'm going to roll down the thoracic spine and then break into the roller into that overhead extension thoracic spine mobility piece. 

Alright, now if improving your overhead position is something that's important to you and it should be, maybe just extending your arms overhead isn't quite enough, so introducing the barbell. How can we use this long metal heavy object to put us in a better position? I’m going to show you how. 

This time we actually will start arms wrapped and then hips lifted and continue until your head comes all the way down to the ground. Once we're here, we're gonna bring the arms in an overhead extension, elbows locked, armpits exposed and hands close together and we're gonna reach our barbell that's already placed on the ground. Again, the goal will be getting the hands as close together as possible, arms locked out and close together. From here, once we have this we want to allow that foam roller to start breaking into that thoracic spine until the buttocks lowers to the ground. If you can comfortably get into this position as comfortable as one can be from this position, go ahead and extend the legs slowly one more time and then there you would have it, full overhead extension in your thoracic spine mobility technique all the way laid out on the floor. 

The next technique we want to show you is how you can use a keg for some thoracic spine mobility. And what's so really great about the keg is it's such a larger surface, you can cover more systems across the back, get more coverage and because it's elevated, one it's a little bit easier to get on and off of and it allows you to go a little bit deeper. But everything else is gonna be pretty much the same, we're gonna use the overhead extension version for this demonstration, so I'm gonna keep my midline engaged, my ribs stack up over my hips, I'm gonna bring my arms up to full extension and I'm going to walk down the roller and then once I hit the start of the rib cage, now we're going to fold back over the foam roller and go as low as you can comfortably go allowing yourself to fold into this device. Arms for a full overhead extension and then coming out of this, I would encourage you to bring your arms to center and then crunch and roll back up - use your hands if you need to - to return to a seated position. And the same thing goes if you're down on the roller with the arms overhead, don't just try to, you know, snap up real quick. It took you a while to fall into that position, so take time to get up and out of that position.

Just like we use the barbell to get a deeper extension from the foam roller position, we can use different objects to get deeper extension to hop on the keg, and the two objects we're gonna use today are our handy-dandy kettlebell and our monster bands which we know and love. So, I'm gonna go and get into position and then show you how I would use these objects to really improve that overhead position. 

So, there you have it, a few more tools for your mobility toolbox. Next week we will give you some insight on how to alleviate lower back pain and start working on that lumbar spine. So, go out there, get after it, train hard, get dirty, you know what to do. Aroo!

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